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ALBUM REVIEW: MAYSA -  BLUE VELVET SOULEDITOR'S NOTE: I'll bet that a whole bunch of you out there are basketball fans and have heard the phrase "TWEENER?" For those of you who aren't familiar with the tearm, a "TWEENER" is "NBA LINGO" for a player who is usually around 6'4"-6'6," has the body of a small forward and the skills of a guard. "TWEENERS" are usually great players, physically gifted & highly skilled and their versitility is well known by the other playes, coaches, journalists, but not always to fans. Some of the greatest players in the history of the game (ex: John Havlicek & Jullius Erving) have been "TWEENERS." However most of the time, "TWEENERS" get overlooked and that is really the key. They usually aren't "stars," but most championship teams can't win without them. They strike fear into their opponents, because a good "TWEENER" is quite often the missing piece of many an NBA Championship. I guess that's because in addition to being great, they are also highly motivated to suceed, because they often get overlooked. Maysa is a classic, musical version of an NBA "TWEENER."

Directly to the left, you are (hopefully) viewing a picture of our good friend and frequent contributor Kevin Amos and Maysa. The picture was taken (by yours truly) at the 2009 Berks Jazz Festival. Maysa Leak had just come off the stage, where she blew away a full house at one of the largest Jazz festivals in the United States as the featured vocalist of a band called "Soul Summit." "Soul Summit" is a bunch of top jazz cats, augmented by a few studio musicians from the Motown/Philly/Stax/Funk scenes doing an Apololo Style concert of 1960's & 1970's classics. I was the emcee for that show. Maysa blew them away. Is she a "Jazz singer" or a "Soul singer?" Does it matter? Maybe she's just a "TWEENER?"

The releaase of Maysa's new album, Blue Velvet Soul, is of course the reason for this special edition of the Soul-Patrol Newsletter. Below you will find a review of her latest album. Of course she is no stranger to For many years Maysa has been one of the most popular artists to appear on the site. She is consistiant. Consistantly good. Some of the internet radio shows that we have done over the years featuring Maysa, are still among the most popular on the site. However she's not a "household name." I don't really understand why? When we first met Maysa in the early 90's, she was then the lead singer of the jazz group "Incognito." Maybe that is the problem? Maybe if she had come along ten years earlier, we might just think of her in the same way that we think of Anita Baker? Or if she has come along 10 years later, we might just think of her in the same way that we think of Alicia Keys? Maybe she's just a "TWEENER?"

Maybe it is best to just accept an artist of great talent, who always produces material that is so timeless that it is cross-generational and cross genre in nature?

Maybe it doesn't matter? Anyhow, as you scroll down and read thru the review and other material we have here about Maysa and her new album, I would like you to take a listen to Maysa's new music with some fresh ears and don't concern yourself with tying to decide is she is "soul or jazz" or to decide if she is "classic soul or neo soul." Just take a listen to the music at the links below and decide if Maysa is good enough to pass YOUR own personal "smell test." And if she does, I would ask you to consider doing two very easy things:

1. Let me know what you think of Maysa's new album.
2. Tell 3 friends as well.
What could be simpler?


-Bob Davis


ALBUM REVIEW: MAYSA -  BLUE VELVET SOUL "Blue Velvet Soul" the new release by Maysa Leak is exhilarating! It is soulfully jazzy, smooth, and exciting! Invoking and igniting all kinds of emotions, thrilling, wistfulness, deep into the gut, melodically seducing into a state of musical delightfulness!

Finger poppin, head bobbin, foot stomping!

This is a CD with no bad tracks, each song is its own, skillfully written and delivered with a soul-satisfied punch! Maysa outdid herself, proving that there is still great music being done by great singers who gives their all, to all, a must have CD! It is hard to give top picks, I am smitten, and haunted by the first track "Beautiful Dreamer" it makes me think of special people, my grands, lovers, and close friends. Track 4: "Good Morning Sunrise" is just, so smooth, very jazzy. Track 5: "What Can I Do" has to be the funkiest track on the CD, It starts out a little EWF'ish, then breaks down into a very funky, bluesy, jazzy groove, , two thumbs up for "Blue Velvet Soul! "

Blue Velvet Soul" can be purchased at Amazon, ITunes.

Track Listing:

1. Beautiful Dreamer
2. Sophisticated Lover
3. Be There
4. Good Morning Sunrise
5. What Can I do
6. Pouring Rain
7. When Your Soul Answers
8. Put It On Me
9. Inside My Dream
10. When You Touch
11. Quiet Fire
12. I Care
13. This Much
14. Nothing But You
15. Love Me Good



--Iris Smith

--Bob Davis




"Maysa's voice is sublime - down-home funky one moment and elegantly jazzy the next."- The Dallas Morning News

"…To die for…. warm, welcoming vocal tone and cool ear mesmerizers" - Philadelphia Daily News

"Maysa Leak's sensual, rangy and enticing voice always emerges triumphant." - Nashville City Paper

"One of the most identifiable and consistently enjoyable singers in underground soul." - Jazziz Magazine

"Maysa's voice is as smooth and as rich as chocolate...its pure, perfect tone is gorgeous and caresses with a languorous sensuality."-Blues And Soul Magazine

Maysa is the kind of singer who takes hold of a song and enraptures her audience in the palm of her hands, as she delivers lyrics, phrases, melodies and harmonies in a way that only she can. Blessed with an instantly identifiable honey-toned mezzo-soprano and an undeniably brilliant and magnetic stage presence, Maysa's alluring vocals, candor, humor and purity as an artist make her a rarity in this business. Having collaborated with everyone from Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan to Incognito and Angela Bofill, Maysa can hang with the best. It is no wonder she is the recipient of Soul Train's "Soul Approved Underground Singer" Award. On June 18, 2013, the Baltimore native will release her tenth recording as a leader and sixth for Shanachie Entertainment, Blue Velvet Soul. " I hope the people who have been supportive of me through the years will enjoy this new music. That is all I can ask for!"

With the recent resurgence of soul singers, Maysa's organic, down-home, jazzy and bluesy approach is the essence of what people have been searching for. She is authentic and music is her truth. "I am a storyteller, a counselor and a friend that helps others through the good times and bad through my music. It's important for me to connect with the audience because it's my God given job." Blue Velvet Soul opens with the uplifting invocation "Beautiful Dreamer," a Maysa original co-written with Eugen Botos. This serene and inviting number opens with Maysa's buttery smooth and sublime alto crooning "If we could see the world through the eyes of a child, we never ever lose faith in all of mankind. I take this chance extend my hand to you. I reach across the world - show my love is true….""Sophisticated Lover," co-written with Chris "Big Dog," Davis, shows off Maysa's sensual side and finds her dropping a rap even Barry White would be proud of - as she woos us in the language of love. Maysa and "Big Dog" co-wrote six of Blue Velvet Soul's tracks including the devotional "Be There," the transcendent ballad "Pouring Rain," and the powerful testimonial "When Your Soul Answers." The duo also joins creative forces for "Inside My Dream," a moving number about faith and the power of dreams and the enchanting "When You Touch Me."

A special highlight on Blue Velvet Soul is "Good Morning Sunrise," an intoxicating and jubilant duet with Maysa's long-time collaborator, Bluey of Incognito. Although Maysa has been a driving vocal force in Incognito for over two decades, Blue Velvet Soul is the first time the duo has recorded together on one of Maysa's own recordings. Bluey and Maysa pull out all the stops for Bluey's get-on-the-dance-floor anthem, "Nothing But You." Maysa also does a stellar version of Bluey's energized, soul & groove heavy, "Put It On Me." The song "This Much" is a Mike City house groove that raises the temperature of Blue Velvet Soul a few notches and "I Care" is a glorious retro soul number fitting for Maysa's bluesy and riveting vocals. Blue Velvet Soul also features "What Can I Do," a funky gospel-inflected composition with convincing vocals from Maysa and the ballad "Quiet Fire," which Maysa was inspired to record in tribute to one of her long-time influences, Nancy Wilson.

The past year has been a difficult one as Maysa lost her dearest friend, her mother. "She made me promise to keep going no matter what," shares the singer. "I was able to continue with my live shows in almost a robotic state but when it came time to create. I was lost. I finished this record with God's help and a little help from my friends.
Maysa Leak was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and knew by the time she was six that she would be a musician. "I was six years old when my mom took me to see Purlie. When Melba Moore came on stage and sang her heart out, I knew at that moment I wanted to make people feel the way she made me feel." Maysa graduated from Morgan State University with a degree in classical performance, meeting Stevie Wonder while a student. Upon graduating, she moved to North Hollywood to join Stevie Wonder's "Wonderlove," with whom she performed for a year, performing on the Jungle Fever soundtrack and such television shows as Oprah and The Tonight Show.

In the early Nineties, Maysa auditioned over the phone to become the new lead singer of the acclaimed British jazz/funk/R&B band Incognito, moving to London for four and a half years. She has appeared on over nine Incognito recordings and continues to appear as a featured vocalist with them from time to time. Maysa recorded her self-titled debut album for GRP in 1995, following it up with ALL MY LIFE in 1999, OUT OF THE BLUE in 2002 and SMOOTH SAILING in 2004. She then made an impact with her interpretations of classic soul music on two acclaimed albums for Shanachie, SWEET CLASSIC SOUL (2005) and FEEL THE FIRE (2007), on which she showed her ability to put her own unique stamp on familiar songs from the 1970s era. METAMORPHOSIS (2008) showed off Maysa's prowess as a composer and A WOMAN IN LOVE (2010) found Maysa returning to her roots as a jazz singer. MOTIONS OF LOVE (2011) which featured the ballad "Have Sweet Dreams" co-written by Stevie Wonder who plays harmonica and inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama and the duet "Flower Girl" showcasing Dwele.



--Bob Davis


If you have a news item, update, review, commentary, etc that you would like to submit to the Soul-Patrol Newsletter, please send them via email for consideration to:

Hopefully you enjoyed this edition of the Soul-Patrol Newsletter.
We will be back soon with the next edition, with email alerts for local events, Soul-Patrol website updates/chat sessions or breaking news in between, as required.

If you have any comments, questions, etc feel free to drop me an email and let me know what's on your mind.
Bob Davis

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